Archive | October, 2011

Zombie Walk 3: Downtown Phoenix Comes Alive with the Undead

30 Oct

The Department of Zombie Defense has everything under control.

“Zombies are imminent! Take cover!”

Matt Haynes of the Arizona Ghostbusters is yelling through a megaphone at the people lining the streets of downtown Phoenix, staring at him and the rest of the Ghostbusters, who’re all illuminated below the flashing blue lights atop the group’s Ecto-1 car. Behind them are almost 4,000 people dressed  as groaning, lurching zombies.

This is Zombie Walk 3, the public parade of horribles that’s become the highlight of the annual Halloween Festival at Heritage Square. The walk starts around First and Monroe Streets, with hordes of sinewy undead then shuffling north down Second Street, screeching through the outdoor plaza of the Arizona Center, dripping southbound  on Third Street to Washington, and looping back to Monroe. The AZ Ghostbusters, along with another costuming group called the Department of Zombie Defense, is tasked with leading the walk and keeping the flesh eaters in line.

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Four Favorite Vampire Flicks

26 Oct

Film poster for “The Hunger”

‘Tis the season for vampires. Fortunately for fans of fanger flicks, there’s no shortage of movies about the bloodsucking undead. Granted, some of them suck in a bad soap opera-way (the entire Twilight series), and I can’t include Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula because of Keanu Reeves’ typically atrocious performance. He made the character of Jonathan Harker seem like such a weenie (tip to Reeves: whoa, don’t try a “British” accent ever again, dude).

But there are a handful of other vampire movies I can really sink my teeth into. Here are four of my favorites.

Vamp (1986; Balcor Film Investors/Planet Productions): This entire film is an exercise in the abject. It’s about a strip club filled with vampires, led by the enigmatic (and heavily painted) Katrina. Some young, dumb, horny guys stumble into the joint and become dinner. That sounds more sexy than scary, until you see Grace Jones as Katrina, in white face with bright blue contact lenses and a big, red, bell-shaped wig. How many lines does Grace Jones need to be creepy? Not a single one. During the entire 93-minute film, she utters only animalistic syllables. The rest of the time, she makes eerie, jerky head movements and glowers. Vamp is too campy to pitch a metaphorical tent, but eye candy’s always sweet, even if it isn’t filling. In the video below (NSFW), Katrina performs an exotic dance that resembles Frank Auerbach and M.C. Escher in art orgy hell with Johnny Rotten and Casper the Friendly Fellatious Ghost.

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Happy Ass and the Angry Sheep

25 Oct

Yesterday, I posted all about my trip to the Arizona State Fair. One of the things I really wanted to do was interview a billy goat, and try to ask questions that could be answered with “baaaaad” and “whaaaaat” and “whooooaa” (yes, I’m a silly weirdo; no, I don’t mind making an ass out of myself).

Well, the goat Q&A didn’t happen. The only billy goats I found were in the petting zoo, and they were too busy following kids with candy and trying to eat my camera strap. So I decided to try and interview a bunch of sheep instead. Just before we started filming this, the handlers began bringing fresh food around, so we got a great chorus of cute and woolly whiners.

Arizona State Fair: That’s How the Maggot Melts

24 Oct

Probably the only time you’ll see me in pink.

What has maggot melts, giant pig balls, demolition derbies, and pissed-off sheep?

If you answered “a behind-the-scenes look at Jackass” or a “a weekend at my perverted uncle’s trailer park,” you’d be close, but still wrong. No, the only place I’ve found all these elements is the Arizona State Fair.

I don’t go to the fair for the rides. When I was younger, I loved being thrown to and fro on some giant, clanking machine, but the older I get, the more I just envision myself being on the roller coaster that somehow careens off the track and crashes into the deep-fryer concession stand below. I’m pretty adventurous, but I’ll be damned if I die with a deep-fried pickle in my eye. And every year, it seems like there are fewer rides anyway.

Goats and gross food are the only reasons I go the Arizona State Fair anymore. It’s an annual event for me to wander through the petting zoo and prize goat barn, going “baaaaa” and talking like Katherine Hepburn. I also like to see what new, gross foods are available, and take pictures of my girlfriend, Bootstrap, eating them. Last year, she ate a chocolate covered cricket and a chocolate covered scorpion.

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I’m Not Sliding off “The Edge”

23 Oct

If you’re a regular reader of this blog (and if so, thank you), you may have noticed that after an active first week of blogging, I posted a mere one blog last week. There was a good reason for this: I started a new job last Monday, and spent my week adjusting to a new schedule and environment. I’m associate editor at a great monthly magazine now, and I’m very happy with the gig thus far. Some of you may know I worked at an alternative news weekly for years, and that was a much more hectic job. Between feature stories, news shorts, and blogs, I was sometimes writing more than 15,000 words a month. The job had its upsides, for sure, but one of the downsides was I didn’t have much time to write anything outside of my job at the weekly. I turned down some great national freelance opportunities because I was just too busy, always on the verge of being overwhelmed.

I still keep myself busy, but I’m no longer so swamped that I can’t freelance or write purely for self-indulgence (“pleasure writing,” as one of my colleagues calls it).  The Phoenix Edge is my pleasure writing.  I do it because I can. If others enjoy it, then I’m thankful and even happier.

That said, I’m going to try and post to this blog at least two or three times a week. I won’t be able to do it every day like I did when I was “between jobs,” but I’ll do it as much as I can. And as always, thank you for reading.  Don’t forget to check back in the morning for giant pig balls and maggot burgers.

Art Buy: Sebastien Millon

17 Oct

The Sebastien Millon print I purchased.

I’m an art buyer. That doesn’t mean I’m rich (far from it), or that I can commission large scale works from famous painters. No, when I say I’m an “art buyer,” it just means that I buy art. When I do, it’s usually something affordable by an underground or local artist.

This past Friday, I went to Main Street in downtown Mesa for the 2nd Friday Art Walk. I stopped by Evermore Nevermore, and was immediately drawn to the kooky cartoon art of Valley-based Sebastien Millon. Millon likes to draw anthropomorphic animals in asinine and hilarious situations. For example, he’s got one print of a “double-head bilingual unicorn,” and another of a polar bear pouring booze down a smaller bear’s throat with the caption “Drunky Bear says teaching your kids how to binge drink in important.”

I enjoy all of Millon’s designs, but my favorites are those that feature a violent, havoc-wreaking rabbit. He’s got one of a rabbit in a bomber jet that reads “Bunny can’t wait to bomb your house.” I bought an 8 x 10 print of that one, because my girlfriend Bootstrap loves bunnies, planes, and mischief. And it cost a mere $15.

Check out more of Sebastien Millon’s work at www.sebastienmillon.com.

Cheap Dates Around the Valley: Zombies, Indie Cinema, Fetishes, and More

14 Oct

RPM Orchestra will provide a live score for the silent film “The Uknown” at FilmBar this weekend.

BY NIKI D’ANDREA

Whether you’re single and surfing the dating scene or coupled up on a budget, it’s possible to have fun around Phoenix without going broke. There’s always something going on in the Valley (on and off the grid), and a night out doesn’t have to mean wincing in front of a bar ATM. From time to time, I’ll post a list of several events across the Valley taking place on a particular weekend – many of which are free, all of which cost less than $10 per person. Here’s what’s happening this weekend:

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